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“How long, O daughter, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”  [Psalm 4:2; NIV 1984]

Miniature by Lori Nix

Miniature by Lori Nix

It’s not a cozy message, this psalm. Instead, I hear a strong admonishment. All along, I skimmed over this verse and relegated it to someone else’s state of being. After all, I’m not delusional. Am I? Am I?

Clearly, I have been quick to sugar-coat my own spiritual condition. How can I ignore that I am still grappling with serious issues that color my world dark: judging others, selfishness, lying, just to name a few and more than likely, not that foreign to any of us.

As a follower of the Christ, I have the opportunity to know God, to dwell in the light of God’s countenance, to change up my response to the challenges of life. I am promised that every prayer will be heard and every prayer answered.

However, am I abusing this grace?

If I continue in the old ways which dig me into a deeper hole, is there wonder that I am complaining that God is not relieving my distress and seemingly not giving response? Perhaps the delusion is my own inability to accept the answer already given. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, am I kicking against the goads (the inevitability) of God’s plan? Am I trying to go one way when God is leading me another?

I am reading a rather frivolous fantasy book right now but the basic story line is relevant. A young man grapples with the “gift” of magic versus his own desires and expectations within his society. In his culture, he is expected to be a soldier and follow the dictates of his father’s line. But the magic is directing him elsewhere and is literally fighting for a place within him.

So I wonder if I don’t do the same thing. I invited the Spirit to dwell within me but then fight the very direction given. While fighting, I may be missing the very best part of my life. I have struggled for so long alone. I made my way. I made things happen. I was intentional and ambitious. I was determined. But the Spirit is slowing me down. I know it but I fight it.

I can’t keep asking God to help me do the very things I have been called to stop doing, right? It is a delusion. Here is a place for prayer to begin. Here is a place to truly understand what it means to “Search your heart.”

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Matrix


How long? Maybe forever without intervention. Am I living within a mirage? Am I seeing what I want to see instead of what is there? Am I in the simulated reality of some matrix that I cannot readily perceive? Have I allowed myself to believe in a lie? A delusion? How would I know?

Psalm 4:2
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods [lies]? Selah.

I am not the only one. Living in denial is fairly common. And why? Because stepping out of that state denial may mean facing some difficult truths. I’m pretty sure this cannot be done alone. Why would someone in denial stop living that way by choice? No, something would have to happen, some kind of wake up call.

Some common forms of denial manifest in people who are entrenched in addictive lifestyles: everything from drinking to drugs, pornography to hoarding. These habits become the norm.

My daughter was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 18 after we adopted her at almost 16. She was living in a constant state of fluctuating pain. She didn’t know that other people did not hurt when they got out of bed every morning or have aching hands, feet, knees, and back every day. She thought everyone lived with pain but she was merely less tolerant than most. How does one learn how to live without pain when that is all a person has known? Would she even recognize the absence of pain?

Some people live in a fog when it comes to relationships. As a result, they explain away physical, mental, and emotional abuse. The abuser is always sorry, after all; the abuser promises to never do that again; the abuser is a delusion.

Lord, forgive me if I have continued to love the delusion. Open my eyes. Reveal deception, my own and others. Shorten the time of my mistakes; restore to me the years that the locusts have eaten [Joel 2:25a]. Give me understanding and wisdom and courage to confront my demons, my deceptions, my false gods and idols. Selah.

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